Manchester United vs Arsenal
Saturday 3rd November 2012
Old Trafford, Manchester.
The early kick-off on Saturday saw Arsenal travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United, this fixture last season saw United beat the Gunners by eight goals to two. Arsenal would want to do a lot better than last season but United knew a win would send them top of the table.
Manchester United – Arsenal
Possession: 47.9% – 52.1%
All Attempts: 13 – 7
On Target: 6 – 2
Goals: 2 – 1
All Passes: 461/533 – 521/593
Completed: 86% – 88%
Fouls Committed: 15 – 15
Yellow Cards: 5 – 3
Second Yellow Cards: 0 – 1
Straight Red Cards: 0 – 0
The first half belonged to Manchester United, they started very well dominating the ball and it took them just 3 minutes to find the net. It was only ever going to be one man and when Vermaelen’s mis-control was pounced upon by Robin van Persie he managed to find the far corner with his weaker right foot. United continued to dominate the first half forcing Arsenal into a lot of errors but they couldn’t find a second goal despite looking dangerous on every attack. Arsenal struggled to get Santi Cazorla on the ball in advanced areas he often had to drop deep into his own half to receive the ball and try and make something happen. As the half drew to a close Manchester United got the chance to extend their lead from the spot when Santi Cazorla was punished for hand ball, Rooney stepped up but missed the spot kick letting Arsenal off the hook.
The second half saw a slight improvement from Arsenal as they saw more of the ball but United looked really comfortable and unlikely to be broke down. Wenger decided to try and change the game by introducing Theo Walcott for Ramsey, Walcott probably should have started the game after his mid-week hat-trick. Arsenal saw their best period in the game at this point but couldn’t find a way through, United took full advantage of this in the 67th minute when they extended the lead with a Patrice Evra header which undoubtedly put the game beyond Arsenal. Arsenal’s task become more difficult in the 70th minute when Jack Wilshere received a second yellow card reducing the Gunners to ten men. The game continued to be comfortable for United after this point with them having two further goals chalked off for offside. Santi Cazorla managed to score a consolation goal deep into injury time at the end of the game with a superb strike into the top corner.
Robin van Persie was the pick of the Manchester United players for me today he was a constant threat managing 4 shots all of which were on target and getting a goal in the process.
Wayne Rooney also had a fabulous game today, he controlled the advanced areas of the field for United and stopped Arteta from influencing the game for Arsenal. Rooney had 100% tackling success over the course of the match and his passing was also fantastic, he picked out van Persie’s runs on numerous occasions and managed to create two goal scoring chances for team-mates.
The pick of the Arsenal players today is a tough one, I’m going to opt for the little man Santi Cazorla although he didn’t manage to influence the game as much as Arsenal would of liked he didn’t play particularly badly and managed to score a fine goal in the final minutes.
The second Arsenal player is Per Mertesacker, he was the pick of Arsenal defenders for me. He managed 7 out of 8 successful clearances and was also the most successful passer on the field in todays game completing 98 of 101 attempted passes.
Overall I thought United performed exceptionally well, they dominated and were a constant threat. Fergie had obviously done his homework and set his team up well to deal with Arteta and Cazorla who were kept really quiet by United. The win puts United top for the first time this season and was thoroughly deserved.
Thanks for reading.
In The Free Role
Follow on twitter – @1Rob Salisbury